It’s been a long week since we were beaten in such harsh fashion last Tuesday night against West Ham and all eyes turn to Goodison Park tonight when we return to Premier League action to take on West Brom. The game at Upton Park was extremely tough to take and although we deserve praise for the spirit we showed to fight back with ten men we eventually crashed out of the FA Cup on penalties and drew our third game on the spin. As much as this might feel like a change in fortunes in terms of results – mainly because before those three games we’d been so poor – at the end of the day we still haven’t managed a victory since the 3-1 win over QPR which was over a month ago, and tonight we desperately need the three points.
Although we haven’t managed a victory in our last three outings, we have seen an improvement in our play and Lukaku has been at the very centre of that. The Belgian has hit two goals in his last three games and tonight faces a side whom he spent time with on loan. Lukaku scored in the reverse fixture back in September when the Toffees ran out 2-0 victors in the Midlands, and how nice a repeat of that score line would be tonight. Tony Pulis brings the Baggies to Merseyside on the back of two successive wins in Cup and League since he took the helm at the Hawthorns and the former Palace boss will have fond memories of his last visit to Goodison when his Crystal Palace side came away with a 3-2 victory. The Albion sit in 15th place in the League table – just a point off the relegation zone and just a point shy of Everton who find themselves in 12th place. That man Berahino will obviously be the one to watch on the night, but Pulis’ sides are notoriously well-organised and we could well have to be patient if we are to break the Baggies down. Both sides are in desperate need of the points and us Blues will be hoping to see a continuation of the recent spirit we’ve seen from our side in the past couple of weeks, especially in our last fixture at Goodison when we fought hard against Man City to earn ourselves a point. There’s no denying it will be tough tonight, and I just hope that come 10pm I’m not sitting there with my head in my hands in a frozen Gwladys Street as I attempt to come to terms with yet another disappointing result – it’s been a constant theme this season and I’m sick of it, we all need a break.
Martinez has described our remaining 17 games as ’17 cup finals’ which hasn’t gone down too well with our fans from what I’ve heard and read. To think that this time last season we were on the verge of 4th spot and we now find our manager giving a rally cry of this ilk – how quickly times change in football. It’s horrible thinking about it. In fact I can’t begin to imagine the mood if we don’t get anything but a win tonight, it sends a shudder down my spine. Martinez wasn’t the only talking point amongst our fans over the weekend on social media and on the forums, there was one other thing. Yes you guessed it; the so-called ‘Hollywood comes to Goodison’ theme that we are going to have to endure during tonight’s game. Sylvester Stallone is apparently set to make another Goodison appearance – 8 years after his first – as the Club take part in the launch of a new boxing film entitled ‘Creed’ which stars local boxer and Evertonian Tony Bellew. The call to fans is to ‘stay in your seat’ at Half Time and potentially be involved in the filming of the movie, but without sounding like a complete bore, for me it’s all a bit cringe, it is being done at the wrong time and probably for the wrong reasons. We all know Kenwright and Everton’s relationship with Robert Earl and we all know Earl’s connections to Hollywood (and Kenwright’s to showbiz), and I believe the two of them and their money-men associates are just basically using the Club as a marketing and advertising puppet and seeing this as yet another window of opportunity to be a benefit to themselves. Maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic or a bit suspicious, but in reality I don’t really give a fuck if this makes the showbiz columns or not, I’m not arsed if it earns Bellew a few more quid or gives Everton a few more fans Stateside – my main concern is matters on the pitch and this is just an unwanted distraction in my opinion. Maybe it is just a ‘clever’ move to deflect the fact that we are in the middle of a piss-poor period of form, but it doesn’t wash me with whatsoever. Saying that I don’t even know why I’m moaning, by the time half time comes I’ll probably already be downstairs on the concourse having my 12th pint of Chang.
A media circus is the last thing we need when we are in the middle of a torrid run of form, but I just hope that the lads can get back to winning ways with a crucial victory in a game that is probably one of our biggest of the current campaign. Following the West Brom game we don’t play until the end of the month when a trip to Palace comes before the Merseyside Derby in early February. I’m expecting to see the same XI that started at West Ham but with McGeady suspended (there is a god) then Mirallas has to take his place in the starting line up. Mirallas changed the game against the Hammers and we should really enjoy him whilst he is still here, because it has become apparent that beyond this season, he probably won’t be around. We need to keep moving the ball quickly like we did against West Ham, defend as well as we did with Jagielka and Stones leading from the back, and hopefully we can get a win that would be massive for this Football Club. Night games at Goodison over the years have been brilliant and the Old Lady looks great under the lights, however this season we have had to endure numerous disappointments on home turf and it has been difficult to walk away each time after yet another poor result. It is time this stopped, we need to build on the slight improvements we’ve seen in recent weeks and finally get ourselves a victory and started to look upwards for once.
Rocky my Arse.
Up the Toffees.